Product #: 52527R
Scientific Name: Chionoecetes opilio
Country of Origin: Canada$21.50 /LB (minimum: 1 LB)
The name snow crab technically refers to only one species, Chionoecetes opilio, but is also often used to refer to two cousin species of tanner crab: Chionoecetes tanneri and Chionoecetes bairdi. These crabs all have four sets of walking legs and a pair of claws. Bairdi are the largest and opilio are the smallest. All have sweet and delicate meat, which is white or a bit reddish. The legs and claws are usually cooked and sold frozen. These are some of the crabs that the Deadliest Catch fleet is harvesting.
Snow and tanner crabs are found in the northwestern Atlantic, northern Pacific and sub-Artic. Alaska and Canada harvest large amounts, as do Japan and Russia.
Most snow and tanner crab populations in the northern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans are healthy or rebuilding to a healthy state. Both the U.S. and Canada conduct population surveys every year and set annual harvest quotas accordingly. These regions are managed with a variety of regulations including quotas, licenses, seasons, gear requirements, and minimum size limits. Snow and tanner crabs are harvested with traps over muddy and sandy bottom, which are unlikely to harm habitat. Traps must have a minimum mesh size to allow undersized and female (smaller) crabs to escape, but bycatch of undersized and soft shell crabs could still have a negative impact on the population. The government is conducting research on gear modifications to reduce this bycatch.
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